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Blog guest: Goran Kežman

How should children jump into the water without holding their noses? How can one make a “perfect” dive, start or a flip turn? Goran Kežman, the head coach of the swimming club Dubrava from Zagreb (Croatia) in the period 2000-2014, the founder and owner of the SKG sport – Custom SwimGear Manufacturer, as a Swimming Dad #Blog guest, talks about dives, starts and flip turns in swimming from the angle of an experienced coach.

Goran Kežman joined the SC Dubrava in 2000 and with his philosophy, work, and quality he has proven himself as one of the best Croatian coaches. His quality work became visible with the great results achieved by his swimmers, who have made Dubrava one of the best clubs in Croatia. His coaching career was certainly marked by one of the best Croatian swimmers ever, the vice-champion at 50 m freestyle at the 2004 OG in Athens, Duje Draganja, whose rich swimming career was crowned by 5 medals from world championships and 12 medals from the European championships in “small” and “big” pools, as well as many other successful swimmers such as Maria Čuljak, Dino Hadžić, Luka Lenardić, Una Arapović, Matej Rukavina,…

What could future swimmers expect from a good start and flip turn?

In swimming, everything begins with the start, so it is logical to master it first, since in short disciplines we use a good start to gain or lose the precious advantage. The same way as we master a certain swimming technique, we also need to work on the “technique” of a good start and flip turns, since in terms of physics the start and flip turns are the points where swimmers gain the biggest momentum in swimming. That is why the coaches and swimmers should not neglect practicing starts and flip turns in almost every training.

How can a timely reaction improve the overall result?

If we are aware of the fact that swimming is a sport where milliseconds are crucial, then a timely reaction at the very start is crucial as well. This is why we have a number of examples in the world swimming where swimmers were left without gold medals just because of one millisecond. In a small pool, the technique itself and good flip turns and flip turn ends are vital for every race from 50m to 1500m. To be honest, with a poor flip turn taking only five milliseconds, with each flip turn in long disciplines we can waste one second or even more.

How to make the “perfect” dive/start and flip turn?

The start and flip turns should be practiced in every part of the season, starting from the preparatory, basic and specific one as well as taper. Personally, I think that swimmers can do a lot by practicing the start and flip turn techniques at the very beginning of the season. At the season start, I don’t let my swimmers make flip turns but they do them with one arm as in the good old backstroke flip turn. Why? For a very simple reason, because at that time when they are mentally “clean” I want them to acquire a proper flip turn.

How should children dive into the water without holding their noses?

Ahh that’s a hard question. To be honest, when it comes to swimming with children, one should

take one step at the time and start with the basics of diving with the feet first, even with holding

their nose, and after a couple of dives and playing, children should be encouraged to try diving in order to catch an object thrown by the coach (a ball, a sponge, or a toy) when the child completely forgets to hold the nose as he/she is fully focused on catching the ball… Anyway, one should go step by step (methodically) and not rush with the start, since it’s quite a demanding motor skill to master.


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